Remixes and Collections What's the difference?

A Remix

A remix is synonymous with an adaptation of a work. It is when you take a CC licensed work and adapt it for another purpose if the license allows. This could be creating a song from a poem or adding glasses and a mustache to a Tabby cat! In creating a remix, you must pay attention to the CC license that applies to the content you want to combine. If the work is licensed under CC BY, the most open of the six CC licenses, then you can pretty much do anything you want with the work as long as you attribute the original creator. If, however, the work has a BY-ND license, you cannot remix the work except for private use (pre 4.0 licenses cannot be adapted at all unless the use falls under exceptions and limitations to copyright). All the other licenses can be remixed with differing degrees of limitation. This chart will help you determine what you can and can't remix. It is preceded by a succinct explanation of remixing.

Licensing your adapted creation

When adapting others' creative works into a remix, the license on the original work applies to the material you are adapting. So, if you adapt a BY-NC work, your remix must be compatible with that same license. It could be BY-NC or you can use whatever license is compatible. The following example of a remix gives a quick review of what I did and shows the correct attributions both for my adapted creation and the original works. I followed the recommendations on the Creative Commons FAQ.

Example of a remix

"My California Native Garden" is the ideal environment to attract hummingbirds, bees and all sorts of wildlife. I have created this garden with my favorite native plants--all works that I downloaded using CC Search. Notice that my adapter's license below must be BY-SA because one of the original works I am remixing here is a BY-SA. So, even if all the other photos are CC BY or CC0, I must adhere to the ShareAlike condition. I used the Adapter's License Chart to help me figure this out. Since my work is a BY-SA, others who want to remix "My California Native Garden" need to use BY-SA to license their adapted work.


"My California Native Garden" by Maryanne Mills is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 International and is a derivative of the following works:

"Wildflowers" (background) by lswaters1968 is available under CC0

"achillea millefolium" by GradeOne is available under CC0

"eriogonum grande rubescens" by peganum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

"sisyrinchium vellum" by Ryan McMinds is licensed under CC BY 2.0

"salvia spathacea" by Bri Weldon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

"muhlenbergia riggens form" by Stan Shebs is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

"Ladies in the Moonlight" by Chris.Chabot on Flickr is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

A Collection

A collection takes different creative works and does not remix them into a new work, but keeps each as a distinct separate object living side-by-side with its neighbors in the collection. Think of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco pictured above. Each is its own beautiful work located next to and completely separate from the others. Together they form a collection called The Painted Ladies. When you create a Creative Commons collection, you, as the compiler, can attribute the entire collection you assembled to yourself -- making sure that you also list the individual works and their licenses. You can adapt them individually only if that particular license gives you permission. So if the photo above was actually a collection of six distinct houses assembled by you, each of the original licenses remain intact with their creators and must be listed in your attribution. It is also important to determine if you can create a Commercial Collection or a NonCommercial Collection. If any of the original works you are using have a BY-NC, BY-NC-ND or a BY-NC-SA, you cannot create a Commercial Collection because of the non-commercial status of these licenses. See this table to determine the status of your collection.

Click below to view a PDF document that is a NonCommercial collection. Be sure to view the attribution details at the end.

Thank you to my Creative Commons instructor Maran Wolston for helping me understand all the intricacies of Creative Commons remixes and collections!

This work is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by Maryanne Mills

Created By
Maryanne Mills


Created with images by DigiPD - "cat feline kitty whiskers black hat spectacles"

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